Tribune News Network
The recent reforms announced by Qatar and Kuwait would lead to surge in bilateral relationships between the two countries, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman has said.
He was speaking at a knowledge sharing event,"Qatar-Kuwait Bilateral Opportunities," hosted by Doha Bank on Tuesday.
The event in Doha was attended by leading corporates and bankers from Kuwait, who were keen to explore business opportunities with Doha Bank, the bank said in a press release on Wednesday.
Briefing the gathering on the recent reforms brought by Qatar, the Doha Bank CEO said,"Qatar is ranked 18th in 'the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17' and stands second in the region. A new law for Public Private Partnership (PPP) businesses in Qatar should provide an additional level of comfort to the private sector and foreign investors."
In February 2017, the country issued a new law on arbitration (the"Arbitration Law"), inspired by the UNCITRAL Model Law (the"Model Law"), an international template for law on arbitration, Seetharaman noted.
In terms of food security, the country now has many local companies that are supporting Qatar and it can develop these businesses further and boost its food production to provide for the needs of both local and international markets, he pointed out.
Qatar's 2017 budget has allocated QR87.1 billion for key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure, which are made up of nearly 44 percent of the total expenditure in the 2017. Transportation and infrastructure projects, which represent a main pillar of sustainable development, have been allocated QR42 billion, he added.
The accomplishment of the New Orbit Highway would facilitate the 2022 Fifa World Cup infrastructure works as per schedule, he said.
"Qatar's landmark residency plan is a welcoming social and economic reform as it will attract skilled expats to have a career in Qatar. It will also encourage investors as they would be able to launch business ventures.
"It will help migrants to further integrate with Qatar's society. On the whole, the landmark residency plan will enhance expatriates' participation in Qatar's economy and society in various forms and thereby contribute to sustainable growth of Qatar. Qatar has also waived entry visa requirements for citizens of 80 countries," he added.
Highlighting the opportunities in Kuwait, Seetharaman said,"This year Kuwait has unveiled a new plan to transform the country into a regional financial and cultural hub by 2035.
"Kuwait's budget deficit for 2017-18 is projected to be around $21.6 billion, with revenues estimated at $43.6 billion and expenditure at $65.2 billion."
He said Kuwait's stocks could get an extra boost from the Kuwait Investment Authority.
Initiatives targeted at improving market liquidity and reducing trading costs could boost local and foreign interest in the Kuwaiti capital market, he added.
Seetharaman said the government of Kuwait has issued domestic bonds worth $7.2 billion and international bonds worth $8 billion and the country is coming up with infrastructure projects such as Kuwait Metro, Kuwait International Airport expansion & Regional Highway.
"Kuwait's 2035 vision stresses the importance of developing tourism and its role in supporting Kuwait's economy by creating employment opportunities in the private sector," the Doha Bank CEO pointed out.
Giving insight on Kuwait's economy, Seethraman said,"Kuwait's non-oil growth is expected to improve to in 2017 and 2018. The country's banking sector's lending growth was more than 7% on year-on-year basis in the first half of 2017, while its deposit growth was flat."
He said the government-funded projects would drive Kuwait's economic growth.
"Domestic interest rates moved up in June 2017 even as the Central Bank of Kuwait opted to keep its key policy rate on hold following the US Fed hike. Though the central bank refrained from hiking the discount rate in June, it did increase the overnight repo rate by 25 basis points, which helped lift interest rates. Qatar-Kuwait bilateral trade was above QR2.7 billion in 2016," Seetharaman said.
Doha Bank board and management gave a farewell to Ahmed Yousuf Ahmed aal Mehza, Chief Country Manager, Kuwait branch. The Doha Bank CEO welcomed Loai Fadel Mukamis who will replace Mehza as new country manager of Kuwait branch.
(c) 2017 Qatar Tribune. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers